A Challenge to Christian Apologists, by J.M. Green

Look, debates are all well and good, but being such fervent supporters of the Bible as the Inspired Word of God, why not settle things the good, old-fashioned biblical way?

I have a modest proposal which I would like to present to all Christian apologists and debaters. I’m talking to you, William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, J. P. Moreland, Dinesh D’Souza (we’ll include you, even though you’ve been very naughty), Kent Hovind (Oops, sorry - still in prison? ), Frank Turek, and all of the other usual suspects.

I am not talking about young-earth creationist proofs of fossilized footprints of men and dinosaurs walking together. Neither am I referring to pseudo-scientific yammerings of irreducible complexity and a vague Designer. Let’s be done with small-time talk wasted on arguments from design, causation, and ontology. Certainly let’s have no silliness about purpose, meaning and morality being intrinsically linked to God or religion.

These are all playground games; mere distractions and diversions. Why waste time on small-caliber weapons, when you have available to you The Nuclear Option?

Let’s settle things once and for all!

What? Is that confusion I see on your faces? You really have no idea what I am talking about?

Let me refresh your memory. 1 Kings chapter 18. Elijah and the prophets of Baal… ahhh, now you are starting to remember.

Israel had been led astray with Baal worship. There were a boatload of Baal’s prophets, and only one little ol’ Elijah. But that didn’t matter because, in the story, Elijah serves a big God. Kind of like the one you guys say you believe in. Elijah knew a showdown was needed. High noon. A gunfight at OK Corral, spiritually speaking. A decisive victory which would be so unmistakable that Israel would turn back to Yahweh and Baal worship would be purged from the land.

And so, he set up a challenge. Two sacrificial altars. 450 prophets of Baal facing off with Elijah, Yahweh’s lone prophet. Each side would do their best to call upon their god to reveal itself. It would be t he moment of truth; put up, or shut up. The god who answered – who actually demonstrated that it existed by displaying a powerful act – calling down fire, that is the god who was to be worshiped. In other words Elijah had the confidence that his god would demonstrate, upon demand, empirical evidence of his existence. The god who shows up, wins.

Elijah was so confident, that he let Baal’s boys have the first turn. He mocked and ridiculed their god, and their frenzied efforts to make something happen. Then, as the story goes, when it was Elijah’s turn, he went out of his way to show it wasn’t trickery. He poured water all over sacrifice. He wanted a clear and unquestionable demonstration, with no room for accusations of trickery. According to the Bible, Yahweh demonstrated unmistakably that he existed. He napalmed the whole damn thing, dead cow, wet wood, stones and all!

Of course, that is just a story, and stories can be fact or they can be fiction.

But, dear apologist, since the Bible proclaims your god as unchanging, and since this god is supposedly interested in people finding the truth, finding Him… Since the eternal fate of souls hangs in the balance, why not settle this God matter once and for all – the Elijah way?

Set up a public face-off: atheists versus believers. The faithless can present their science and reason and logic. The believers can mock and ridicule the ‘religious’ beliefs of Dawkins and his ilk. They can blaspheme Darwin and Nietzsche, and proclaim their inability to work miraculous wonders.

Next, will be the Christians’ turn. They can pray in tongues and have their worship band crank out some catchy love songs to Jesus. Take up an offering. Recite the Lord’s Prayer, the 10 Commandments, and the Apostle’s Creed. Light some candles and say some Hail Marys. Millions of Christians around the world can unite in supplication to God, via a live video feed of the event. “God, this is your moment. King of Kings, Lord of Lord. All-powerful master of the universe, hear us now and show yourself mighty.”

Here’s the kicker that should sweeten the deal: For the ultimate finale to the demonstration of your god’s existence and power, you could call down fire upon your godless, secular humanist, atheistic opponents!

Think about it.

You can demonstrate the reality of your god, and wipe out a whole swath of those annoying New Atheists in one fell swoop!

Now, I would have to get all the atheist debaters to sign waivers agreeing to this little detail, but I’m pretty sure they would jump at the chance. See, that’s how confident they are that your beloved Yahweh is just as much a figment of human imagination as was Zeus and every other god that litters the halls of history.

So how about it? It’s workable. It’s biblical. Not even expensive. Think of all those ‘undecided’ spiritual voters who could be swayed. No more need for endless debates.

All you’d need is for your god to show up and do something miraculous and empirically verifiable. It doesn’t even have to be something outlandish like making the sun stand still, or causing a donkey to talk. The whole water-to-wine thing – fun, but not earth-shaking. How about something both amazing and useful? Causing an amputee’s limbs to grow back would be very much appreciated. We have some wounded vets who could really use a miracle. A cure for cancer or AIDS? Our doctors have been very busy trying to pick up the slack for all the things your god doesn’t do… and still, people insist on giving him all the credit.

So, how about it?

Pick a date.

Let me know…

I’ll be waiting.

Written by J.M. Green


Greg G. said...

I have had a challenge based on that passage, too. It involves a couple of hibachis, 2 bags of charcoal and steaks. They use everything in 1Kings to light their fire. I will use the products of science - lighter fluid and a butane lighter. The first to produce a medium rare steak from a rare one wins. I've yet to meet anyone with enough faith to take the challenge.

Troy Farwell said...

This seems a very long-winded way of bringing up the same old atheist proposition: God, show me evidence and I will believe. Fix this thing and I will believe.

This is a very strange thing for an atheist to put forth, but I see it all the time. It looks as if you might want him to actually show up. I don't understand why you don't take the position of never speaking of him again - at least there would be some consistency in it. So my challenge to you - don't talk about God anymore. Focus only on all the things in the universe that you do accept.

Now the argument: Religion is so bad that I must speak against it - Look at the middle ages, the crazy Islamic fundamentalists, or the evangelical ripoff artists. Well, look at the athiest USSR or China killing over 50,000,000 combined in the 20th century (they won the genocide prize). So there is evil within and without religion. Speak instead against mankind if you have to.

So my challenge is simple: don't mention God any more. Truly act as if He did exist. I think this is a very low-impact challenge. What do you think?